In Memory of

Fe

B.

Shanahan

(Babula)

Obituary for Fe B. Shanahan (Babula)

Fe B. Shanahan, 75, passed away peacefully at home in Enfield, Connecticut on May 28, 2020 after a battle with mesothelioma. Born on April 23,1945 in Burauen, Leyte, Philippines, Fe was the daughter of Sofronio and Eulalia Babula. Nicknamed “Ping Ping,” she was the eldest of seven children. Fe’s childhood in the Philippines was filled with love but also hardship and it motivated her to uplift herself and her family through education, faith and hard work. She earned bachelor’s degrees in 1965 and 1968, the first from Divine Word University in Tacloban and the second from Southwestern University in Cebu. It was her acceptance of an invitation from St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury, Connecticut to study advanced medical technology that changed the course of her life. On the last leg of her flight from Manila to Bradley Airport in October 1968, she met her future husband, John "Jack" Shanahan, who was heading home after serving in Thailand in the U.S. Air Force. Fe married Jack on January 10, 1970 in a lovely fur-tipped wedding dress she sewed herself. The two bought a house in Enfield a year later, where they raised their three children. Fe became an American citizen in 1975 and was determined to provide the same opportunity to the rest of her family. Through her sponsorship, her parents and siblings all became American citizens, too. Fe worked for 32 years as a medical technologist at St. Francis and Mount Sinai hospitals in Hartford. She retired in 2001 and began developing a barren piece of beachfront property in Tolosa, Leyte, turning it into a lush garden and a devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. She was a parishioner of St. Bernard Church in Enfield and a member of the Lay Carmelites. Fe’s soft-spoken strength and elegance defined her. She was warm and generous, even to those she just met. She operated a feeding program for poor children in Leyte from 2009 until 2013 when Super Typhoon Haiyan destroyed the island and swept away most of her beach home and garden. A fighter, Fe rebuilt her little piece of paradise, replanting her palm trees and reorganizing the feeding project. Fe was also a lifelong learner. She took classes in computing, vegetarian cooking, jewelry design, ballroom dancing, firearms and travel agent training. She taught each of her children and grandchildren to read. She loved visiting gardens, growing plants, sewing, dancing, shopping and Hallmark Channel movies. Fe was a matchmaker, a cub scout den mother and a terrible driver. She served as the first secretary of the Philippine-American Women’s Association of Connecticut. Diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2017, she beat the odds and kept the cancer at bay for 2.5 years, allowing her and Jack to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary with a Hawaiian family vacation. But the aggressive disease moved to her abdomen at the end of February. The day after Easter, doctors gave her 3 weeks to live, but Fe, ever the overachiever, stayed for 6 weeks in hospice care. Her beauty, style, creativity, smile and love will be missed more than words can express. In addition to her husband, Fe is survived by son Kevin Shanahan & his partner Meryl Brott; daughter Marie Shanahan & her partner Todd Stiles; son Matthew Shanahan & his wife Abbie Shanahan; five siblings and their spouses: Sofronio & Teresita Babula, Oscar & Purie Babula; Luz & Jose Veloso; Leah & Ben Raga; Manuel & Connie Redubla; four grandchildren: Julia, Ella Fe, Gabriel and Zoe; as well as many nieces, nephews and cousins. Fe was predeceased by her parents and an infant brother, Glicerio. Memorial donations may be made to the International Mesothelioma Program at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, or the hospice program at Hartford HealthCare at Home. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Services for Fe are private. Burial will be St. Bernard Cemetery in Enfield. Arrangements are by Browne Memorial Chapels. Fe’s life will be celebrated at a memorial service on a future date.